Picture this: you just need a break. So you pick up the remote, flip on some cartoons and settle in the kiddos so you can take a breathe. But you may want think twice.
A recent study from the University of Arizona published in the International Journal of Advertising has found that instead of feeling a sense of relaxation while children are watching TV, parents feel the opposite––stress. So what’s the deal?
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It’s simple really. Kids who watch a lot of TV are subjected to a lot of advertising. Which in turn, leads to a whole lotta whining, crying and pleading when they accompany parents to the store, trying to get everything they saw a commercial for on TV.
Lead study author Matthew Lapierre, an assistant professor in the UArizona Department of Communication in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences says, “The more advertising children see, the more they ask for things and the more conflict is generated.” Of course, there are plenty of ways to combat the problem.
For starters, parents can limit screen time. More importantly, they can have open communication with their kids about consumerism and involving the entire family in purchasing decisions. The study also found that collaborative communication with children resulted in less stress for parents and that avoiding controlling (“I said no and no arguing”) or advertising (“They just want us to buy what they’re selling) communication helped keep stress low as well.
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The study was done using data from 433 parents of children ages 2 to 12. The researchers angled the study to focus on younger kids because they rely on their parents for purchases as opposed to more independent behaviors in older kids.
Parents answered questions about communication style, how much television their kids watch each day, their children’s behavior while shopping and their own stress level.
The entire study can be read here.
–– Karly Wood